BrianRxm Coins in Movies 68/109
Mr. Lucky (1943)
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The 1943 RKO Pictures film "Mr. Lucky" is about a cynical gambling boat owner and confidence man
who romances a society girl in order to run a crooked gambling operation at her charity event.
Under her influence and from events he slowly becomes a patriot.
 
The film is set in New York City just before the United States entered World War II and stars Cary Grant
as Joe, the gambler, and Laraine Day as Dorothy, the society girl.
 
Joe makes use of a two-tailed coin to con various people and another person uses a two-headed coin
for the same purpose.
 
The prop coins used in the film are based on old German silver dollar-sized coins.
Mr. Lucky
1. Title
 
Joe Adams runs a gambling boat called the Fortuna. At that time it was legal to operate casino
gambling on a boat if the boat was a certain distance from shore.
 
Joe brings some items to a meeting with his partners and employees.
 
Mr. Lucky
2. Joe holds two draft notices
 
Joe and his partner Zepp receive military draft notices and don't want to go into the army.
Another associate is a criminal named Joe Bascopolous or "Joe the Greek" who is about to die.
 
Joe and Zepp decide to shoot dice and the winner will start using Bascopolous's name and will
own the boat.
 
Mr. Lucky
3. Shooting for the boat
 
Joe wins the identity and the boat and Zepp heads for the draft office. He is found medically unfit
for the army and returns to the boat as a resentful employee.
 
Joe has the boat but needs money to open it for business.
 
Joe and his employee Crunk head into town and Dorothy Bryant, a rich society girl tries to sell him
two $50 tickets for a party to benefit her War Relief charity.
 
Mr. Lucky
4. Dorothy sells ticket
 
He doesn't buy the tickets but the cost gives him an idea. He plans to approach the charity
and offer to run a casino gambling operation for them to raise money.
However, he really intends to keep the money.
 
Joe follows Dorothy around and then heads for the War Relief office.
The poster behind the woman reads "Bundles for Freedom", apparently taken from the
real "Bundles for Britain" relief organization.
 
Mr. Lucky
5. Joe joins the War Relief group
 
The group is a women's group but need a man around to do heavy lifting so they take him.
He is also invited to learn knitting.
 
Mr. Lucky
6. Learning to knit
 
A man comes in to sell the group some blankets but he wants more money than the group can afford.
Joe approaches the man and makes a wager.
 
Mr. Lucky
7. Joe holds his coin
 
Joe offers to flip a coin with the man for a price reduction, and he has a little help as his coin
is a trick coin which has "tails" on both sides.
 
Mr. Lucky
8. Joes special coin
 
The coin image is copied from the reverse of a Germany States Silver Five Mark coin.
The real coin is 38mm in diameter, the same size as a US silver dollar.
 
A similar real Germany States coin from Prussia:
 
Germany Prussia 5 Marks 1903
9. Germany Prussia 5 Marks 1903
 
Obverse: Wilhelm II, King of Prussia
Reverse: Reverse: German Eagle and Deutsches Reich 1903
Silver, 38mm, 27.61gm
 
Dorothy's charity is informed that a man who is supposed to ship the goods wants more money.
She and Joe head to the docks to meet the man.
 
Mr. Lucky
10. Joe and Dorothy confront the shipper
 
Joe fingers a roll of dimes, accompanies the man to his office and, behind closed doors, beats him up.
The dimes roll under the door and down to Dorothy's shoes.
 
Mr. Lucky
11. Dimes rain down on Dorothy
 
The dimes appear to be real Winged Liberty Head or "Mercury Head" dimes which were
minted from 1916 to 1945.
 
Dorothy later accompanies Joe to her apartment and while hanging up his coat, finds his two-tailed coin.
She and Joe engage in a little romantic talk and he calls her "Briny Marlin".
 
Mr. Lucky
12. Dorothy finds Joes special coin
 
She puts it away and playfully asks Joe for a wager and playfully implies what he will win.
Joe shows both his closed hands, asks her which hand the coin is in, she replies "neither".
He opens his hand and shows her the coin.
 
Mr. Lucky
13. Joe shows the coin
 
He tells her that he doesn't play games with friends.
 
Dorothy sees her grandfather who doesn't like her fooling around with such a shady character,
and threatens to have him "investigated".
 
Mr. Lucky
14. Grandfather threatens to investigate
 
Dorothy now trusts Joe and gives permission for him to run his casino at their charity party.
She also gives him a check for $6,000 to pay a shipper and Joe, using a trick, keeps the check
and cashes it himself at the bank where the grandfather works. He sends the police after Joe.
 
Mr. Lucky
15. The police arrive at the charity office
 
Dorothy manages to get Joe out of the office and he heads for the Fortuna.
Zepp gives Joe a letter from Greece address to the real Joe Bascopolous.
The letter is in Greek and Joe takes it to a Greek Orthodox church and asks the priest
to read it for him.
 
Mr. Lucky
16. Joe and the Greek priest
 
The priest reads the letter, it is from the real Joe's mother, and it describes how the Nazis
murdered all of the men in the village including Joe's brothers.
 
Joe (Cary) realizes that the war is serious business and decides not to steal the funds
from the war relief charity.
 
He heads for the Fortuna and meets his associates.
 
Mr. Lucky
17. Mutiny on the Fortuna
 
Zepp has guessed that Joe intends to keep the money and not share it.
 
The charity party is held at a mansion with the slot machines and roulette tables upstairs.
The charity women bring the cash to an office room for counting.
 
Mr. Lucky
18. Women with cash
 
The bills appear to be standard Mexican Revolution motion picture stage money bills.
Since the 1920's, motion picture companies have used these notes, reprinted from
Mexican Revolution (1910-1925) notes issued by the states of Chihuahua and Sonora
 
There is very little cash as Joe's associates have removed most of it.
 
Joe confronts Zepp, who pulls a gun and shoots Joe.
Joe manages to knock Zepp down and rather savagely beats him.
His men take Joe to an underworld doctor to have the bullet removed.
 
The women wonder why they only made a few hundred dollars from the event when the Fortuna's
captain Hard Swede arrives.
 
Mr. Lucky
19. The captain delivers a bundle
 
The captains's bundle is the missing cash, over $100,000 of it.
He tells Dorothy that Joe is taking the Fortuna to deliver the relief supplies.
 
Dorothy now realizes that Joe has changed and that she loves him.
She hurries down to the docks and sees the boat, now named the "Briny Marlin", leaving.
 
Mr. Lucky
20. Dorothy misses the boat
 
She has been going down to the docks every day looking for Joe, although she has heard that
the boat was sunk by a submarine torpedo on it's way back to New York.
 
The Swede and a dock policeman watch her and Joe shows up alive to meet the men.
The policeman supplies a coin and the captain and Joe flip over who is to remove a dingy (small boat).
 
Mr. Lucky
21. Policeman offers flipping coin
 
Joe loses the coin flip and head to the dock where he and Dorothy meet.
 
Mr. Lucky
22. Joe and Dorothy
 
The policeman shows his coin which is also a special coin, this time a two-headed one.
 
Mr. Lucky
23. Another special coin
 
The coin image is copied from the obverse of a Germany State of Bavaria silver Kronenthaler
issued during the reign of King Maximilian I of Bavaria (1806-1825).
The coin is about the size of a United States silver dollar (39mm).
Notes:
 
Cast:
Cary Grant as Joe Adams / Joe Bascopolous
Laraine Day as Dorothy Bryant
Charles Bickford as Hard Swede
Paul Stewart as Zepp
Alan Carney as Crunk
 
Director: H.C. Potter
Writers: Milton Holmes, Adrian Scott, Milton Holmes
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